07/15/2005: "Concerns on 4th of July Fireworks Safety"
July 11, 2005
This letter is written to ask for some help from your office in regards to what transpired from July 2 to July 5, 2005.
I live in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. I have 27 years of service with the Sacramento Fire Department as a professional firefighter so I feel I should know a little bit of what I am talking about.
My property basically borders Roche Harbor Resort so I am quite concerned as to what has gone on here in the past few years. Let me also state I am not alone. A number of my neighbors are concerned as well. Since "legal" fireworks are associated with the celebration of 4th of July I would expect to be exposed to them. What has gone on this year is absolutely gross negligence on Roche Harbor's part. In the enclosed flyer you will read that a person can go to Roche Harbor to set off their "legal" fireworks. What the flyer doesn't tell you is that you could set off any kind of fireworks, legal or illegal, since there is no security to overlook the process! The Harbor and surrounding neighborhood is in a forested area. The fire department is of volunteers and the closest unmanned fire station is close to being closed since there aren't enough volunteers to man the equipment.
Since the law states "legal" fireworks can be displayed on the 4th then I would expect a reputable resort to go by the law instead of ignoring it! I observed bottle rockets, Roman candles, firecrackers, M80's and numerous other "illegal" fireworks including large sky rockets, other than their professional display, all being set off on Roche Harbor property!! Their flyer states that you can use their pool beach for personal fireworks. I personally observed fireworks being set off in the forest and various locations all within their property! This went on from early morning of the 2nd to the morning of the 5th of July all without supervision and no security to help stop violators! It was pretty obvious to me that this type of action was condoned by Roche Harbor.
The tourists that had come here for the holiday were obviously under the assumption that this was a "free zone" for illegal fireworks. You have to also understand that the harbor is packed with tourists and boats on the 4th. I would guess that there is close to 200, or more, boats all moored to Roche's docks and other boats moored on their own. There are numerous boats that carry well over a 1000 gallons of fuel that are all exposed to these hazardous activities. You will also have to understand that once a fire breaks out here in San Juan Island that there will be no stopping it, since we really have no fire protection. This is an all too dangerous activity, since there is a great possibility that there will be fatalities if a fire should happen. We live in a area of no fire hydrants and yet we, as a neighborhood, are exposed to the going's on of Roche Harbor. Obviously they don't care!
I am asking for help from your office to please look into this matter before it is too late. Please reply to this serious matter as soon as possible. Thank you.
Daryl and Vicki Boulton
350 Afterglow Drive
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
cc: State Fire Marshall, Mount Vernon, Wa.
Fire Chief, Friday Harbor, Wa.
Brent Snow General Manager Roche Harbor
Roche Harbor Neighborhood Association
Commissioners San Juan Island
The Island Guardian
San Juan Journal Newspaper